Interactive Gaming (Player Protection) Act 1999

16 June 1999

Interactive Gaming (Player Protection) Bill - Introduction Print

Interactive Gaming (Player Protection) Act 1999

Act No.

TABLE OF PROVISIONS

Clause Page

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A BILL

relating to interactive gaming, to make certain consequential amendments and for other purposes.

Interactive Gaming (Player Protection) Act 1999

The Parliament of Victoria enacts as follows:

PART 1--PRELIMINARY

1. Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to make provision for the protection of persons participating in interactive games by regulating the provision of interactive gaming services.


2. Commencement

(1) This section and section 1 come into operation on the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.
(2) The remaining provisions of this Act come into operation on a day or days to be proclaimed.

3. Definitions

In this Act--

"approved game" has the meaning given by section 8;

"Authority" means the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority established under the Gaming and Betting Act 1994;

"computer server" means a computer that is capable of--

(a) communicating with another computer; and
(b) providing to that other computer--
(i) access to a database; or
(ii) transaction based services; or
(iii) software applications;
"conduct" includes promote, organise and operate;

"control system" means a system of internal controls and administrative and accounting procedures for the conduct of interactive games by a licensed provider;

"corresponding law", in relation to a participating jurisdiction, means a law of the participating jurisdiction declared to be a corresponding law under section 6;

"employ" includes engage under a contract for services;

"employee", in relation to a licensed provider, means a person employed by the licensed provider in functions related to the conduct of approved games;

"executive associate"--

(a) in relation to a licensed provider, means an executive officer of a corporation, a partner or trustee, or another person stated by the Authority, whom the Authority reasonably believes to be associated with the ownership or management of the operations of the licensed provider;
(b) in relation to an applicant for an interactive gaming licence, means an executive officer of a corporation, a partner or trustee, or another person stated by the Authority whom the Authority reasonably believes--
(i) is associated with the ownership or management of the applicant's operations; or (ii) will, if an interactive gaming licence is issued to the applicant, be associated with the ownership or management of the licensed provider's operations;
"executive officer", in relation to a corporation, means a person who is concerned with, or takes part in, the corporation's management, whether or not the person is a director or the person's position is given the name of executive officer;

"game" includes a scheme or arrangement;

"gaming record", in relation to a licensed provider, means a record (including a document) about the operations conducted by the licensed provider under the interactive gaming licence;

"gaming Act" means any of the following Acts--

(a) the Casino Control Act 1991;
(b) the Gaming Machine Control Act 1991;
(c) the Club Keno Act 1993;
(d) the Gaming and Betting Act 1994;
(e) the Gaming No. 2 Act 1997;
(f) the Lotteries Gaming and Betting Act 1966;
"identity", in relation to a person, means name, address, date of birth or a prescribed aspect of the person's identity;"inspector" means a person who is an inspector for the purposes of this Act;

"interactive gaming equipment" means a machine or other device (whether electronic, electrical or mechanical), computer software, or another thing used, or suitable for use, in the conduct of an approved game;

"interactive gaming licence" means a licence under Part 3;

"interactive game" has the meaning given by section 5;

"licensed provider" means a person who is licensed under this Act to conduct interactive games;

"participating jurisdiction" means a State or Territory that, under an Order under section 6, is declared to be a participating jurisdiction;

"play" means participate in an interactive game;

"player" means a person who participates in an interactive game;

"public office", in relation to a licensed provider, means the licensed provider's principal place of business in the State or, if the licensed provider is a corporation and has its registered office in the State, the registered office;

"registered company auditor" means a person registered as an auditor, or taken to be so registered, under Part 9.2 of the Corporations Law;

"TABCORP" means TABCORP Holdings Limited A.C.N. 063 780 709;"telecommunication device" means--

(a) a computer adapted for communicating by way of the internet or another communications network; or
(b) a television receiver adapted to allow the viewer to transmit information by way of a cable television network or another communications network; or
(c) a telephone; or
(d) any other electronic device or thing for communicating at a distance;
"wager" means an amount a player pays to participate in an interactive game or puts at risk in playing an interactive game;

"written notice" includes a notice given in the form of electronic data from which a written document can be produced or reproduced.

4. Meaning of associate

(1) For the purposes of this Act, a person is an associate of an applicant for an interactive gaming licence or a licensed provider if the person--
(a) holds or will hold any relevant financial interest, or is or will be entitled to exercise any relevant power (whether in right of the person or on behalf of any other person) in the interactive gaming business of the applicant or licensed provider and, by virtue of that interest or power, is able or will be able to exercise a significant influence over or with respect to the management or operation of that business; or
(b) holds or will hold any relevant position, whether in right of the person or on behalf of any other person, in the interactive gaming business of the applicant or licensed provider; or
(c) is a relative of the applicant or licensed provider.
(2) In this section--

"relative" means spouse (including de facto spouse), parent, child or sibling (whether of the full or half blood);

"relevant financial interest", in relation to a business, means--

(a) any share in the capital of the business; or
(b) any entitlement to receive any income derived from the business; or
(c) any entitlement to receive any payment as a result of money advanced;
"relevant position", in relation to a business, means the position of director, manager or other executive position or secretary, however that position is designated;

"relevant power" means any power whether exercisable by voting or otherwise and whether exercisable alone or in association with others--

(a) to participate in any directorial, managerial or executive decision; or
(b) to elect or appoint any person to any relevant position.
5. Meaning of interactive game

(1) For the purposes of this Act but subject to sub-section (2), an interactive game is a game in which--
(a) a prize consisting of money or something else of value is offered or can be won under the rules of the game; and
(b) a player--
(i) enters the game or takes any step in the game by means of a telecommunication device; and
(ii) pays, or undertakes to pay, a monetary payment or other valuable consideration to participate in the game; and
(c) the winner of a prize is decided--
(i) wholly or partly by chance; or
(ii) by a competition or other activity in which the outcome is wholly or partly dependent on the player's skill.
(2) The following are not interactive games--
(a) wagering or an approved betting competition authorised to be conducted by TABCORP if the player participates in it by means of a telecommunications device used in conducting the wagering or competition;
(b) wagering of a kind authorised to be carried on by a bookmaker registered under the Racing Act 1958 if the person placing a bet with the bookmaker places it by means of the telecommunication device used in carrying on the wagering;
(c) a lottery for the promotion of a trade or business or a raffle or other lottery, being a lottery or raffle authorised under the Gaming No. 2 Act 1997, but not including bingo or lucky envelopes, if the person making the bet or investment does so by means of the telecommunications device used in conducting the lottery or raffle; (d) club keno within the meaning of the Club Keno Act 1993 if the player participates by means of a telecommunications device;
(e) a consultation or soccer football pool within the meaning of the Tattersall Consultations Act 1958 if the player participates by means of a telecommunication device;
(f) a game approved by the Authority under section 60 of the Casino Control Act 1991 if the player participates by means of a telecommunications device;
(g) gaming that is lawful under the Gaming Machine Control Act 1991 if the player participates by means of a telecommunications device;
(h) a game in which the player participates by means of a telecommunications device and all wagers are returned to players whether as prizes or otherwise.

6. Participating jurisdictions

(1) Subject to this section, the Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, by Order in Council published in the Government Gazette--
(a) may declare another State or Territory to be a participating jurisdiction for the purposes of this Act;
(b) may declare a law of another State or Territory to be a corresponding law for the purposes of this Act.
(2) The Minister must not make a recommendation for the purposes of sub-section (1) unless the Minister is satisfied that--
(a) there is in force an agreement between the Minister and a Minister of the other State or Territory making adequate provision for administrative arrangements between this State and the other State or Territory relating to the administration of this Act and the proposed corresponding law of the other State or Territory; and
(b) there is in force an agreement between the Treasurer and the Treasurer of the other State or Territory making adequate provision for the taxation of approved games and the sharing of taxation revenue.
(3) The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister, by Order in Council published in the Government Gazette may at any time revoke an Order under sub-section (1).
(4) The Minister must make a recommendation for the purposes of sub-section (3) if satisfied that there is no longer in force the agreement or administrative arrangements referred to in sub-section (2).
(5) If there is in force an agreement referred to in sub-section (2)(b)--
(a) gaming revenue in section 38 does not include an amount in respect of which a tax or duty is payable under the corresponding law in accordance with the agreement; and
(b) there shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund (which is hereby to the necessary extent appropriated accordingly) such amount (if any) as is required to be paid in accordance with the agreement to a participating State.

7. Territorial application of this Act

(1) This Act applies both within and outside Victoria.
(2) This Act applies outside Victoria to the full extent of the extraterritorial legislative power of the Parliament.

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PART 2--INTERACTIVE GAMING

8. Meaning of approved game

(1) For the purposes of this Act, an approved game is an interactive game, not being a prohibited game, that--
(a) a licensed provider is authorised to conduct under this Act; or
(b) a person licensed under a corresponding law is authorised to conduct under the corresponding law.
(2) If the Minister is satisfied that a game is contrary to the public interest, the Minister, by notice published in the Government Gazette, may declare the game to be a prohibited game.

9. Offence to conduct unauthorised interactive gaming

(1) A person must not--
(a) conduct an interactive gaming business at or from a place in Victoria; or
(b) own, control or operate a computer server in Victoria that enables interactive games to be played; or
(c) offer or advertise in Victoria the playing of interactive games; or
(d) seek to obtain a commercial advantage from the use of premises in Victoria for the playing of interactive games--

unless the person is a licensed provider or is authorised under a corresponding law and the person's licence or authority authorises that activity.


Penalty: For a first offence, 600 penalty units.

For a second or subsequent offence, 600 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years or both.

(2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), if a wager for an interactive game is placed at premises or money is deposited at premises to be held on behalf of a player for the purposes of interactive gaming, an interactive gaming business is deemed to be conducted at those premises.
(3) A person who supplies to the public a listed carriage service (within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act 1997 of the Commonwealth) that enables end-users to access the Internet is not guilty of an offence under sub-section (1)(c) by reason only of hosting or carrying information--
(a) kept on a data storage device; and
(b) accessed or available for access using that service--

if the person was not aware of that information.

10. Compliance with certain conditions

(1) A licensed provider must not conduct or offer to conduct an approved game unless--
(a) the rules of the game are approved by the Authority; and
(b) the game is conducted in accordance with those rules; and
(c) the game is conducted at or from premises approved by the Authority; and
(d) equipment used in conducting the game is approved by the Authority; and
(e) the associates of the licensed provider are approved by the Authority in accordance with this Act; and
(f) the licensed provider has an internal control system that is approved by the Authority.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

(2) The Authority must not approve rules unless it is satisfied that the rules are fair to players, are reasonable and are not contrary to the public interest.

11. Player registration and acceptance of wagers

(1) A licensed provider must not permit a person to play an approved game unless the person is registered with the provider as a player.

Penalty: For a first offence, 600 penalty units.

For a second or subsequent offence, 600 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

(2) A licensed provider must not accept a wager from a player in an approved game unless--
(a) the player is a registered player; and
(b) the funds necessary to cover the amount of the wager are held by the provider on behalf of the player.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

12. Procedure for registration

A licensed provider must not register a person under the age of 18 years as a player.

Penalty: For a first offence, 600 penalty units.

For a second or subsequent offence, 600 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

13. Verification of player's identityA licensed provider must not allow a registered player to play an approved game until the player's identity has been authenticated in accordance with the conditions of the licence.

Penalty: For a first offence, 600 penalty units.

For a second or subsequent offence, 600 penalty units or imprisonment for 2 years, or both.

14. Offence for licensed provider to participate etc

(1) A licensed provider must not participate as a player in an interactive game conducted by the provider.

Penalty: 600 penalty units.

(2) An employee of a licensed provider must not participate as a player in an interactive game conducted by the provider.

Penalty: 240 penalty units.

15. Lawful activities

Despite any other law, the following activities are lawful--

(a) the conduct of an approved game, under this Act, by a person authorised under this Act or a corresponding law to conduct the game;
(b) the advertisement and promotion (subject to this Act) of an approved game;
(c) participation (subject to this Act) as a player in an approved game;
(d) the doing of anything else required or authorised to be done under this Act.
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PART 3--INTERACTIVE GAMING LICENCES

16. Application for interactive gaming licence

(1) An application for an interactive gaming licence--
(a) must be made in a form in or to the effect of the form approved by the Authority; and
(b) must be accompanied by the prescribed fee.
(2) The application must contain or be accompanied by any additional information that the Authority requests.
(3) If a requirement made by this section is not complied with, the Authority may refuse to consider the application.

17. Consideration of application

(1) The Authority must consider an application for an interactive gaming licence and either grant or refuse to grant the application.
(2) Despite sub-section (1), the Authority is required to consider an application for an interactive gaming licence by a natural person only if the applicant agrees to having the applicant's fingerprints and palm prints taken.

18. Conditions for granting application

(1) The Authority may grant an application for an interactive gaming licence only if the Authority is satisfied that--
(a) the applicant is a suitable person to hold an interactive gaming licence; and
(b) the applicant, if a natural person, is over the age of 18 years; and
(c) each associate of the applicant is a suitable person to be associated with a licensed provider's operations.
(2) The Authority may refuse to grant an application even if the Authority is satisfied of the matters mentioned in sub-section (1).

19. Suitability of applicant to hold interactive gaming licence

(1) In deciding whether an applicant is a suitable person to hold an interactive gaming licence, the Authority may have regard to the following matters--
(a) the applicant's character or business reputation;
(b) the applicant's current financial position and financial background;
(c) if the applicant is not a natural person, whether the applicant has, or has arranged, a satisfactory ownership, trust or corporate structure;
(d) whether the applicant has, or is able to obtain, appropriate resources and appropriate services;
(e) if the applicant has a business association with another entity--
(i) the entity's character or business reputation; and
(ii) the entity's current financial position and financial background;
(f) anything else prescribed under the regulations.

(2) In sub-section (1)--

"appropriate resources" means financial resources--

(a) adequate, in the Authority's opinion, to ensure the financial viability of operations conducted under an interactive gaming licence; and
(b) available from a source that is not, in the Authority's opinion, tainted with illegality;
"appropriate services" means the services of persons who have appropriate experience to ensure the proper and successful conduct of interactive games.

20. Suitability of associatesIn deciding whether an associate of an applicant for an interactive gaming licence is a suitable person to be associated with a licensed provider's operations, the Authority may have regard to the following matters--

(a) the person's current financial position and financial background;
(b) if the person has a business association with another entity--
(i) the entity's character or business reputation; and
(ii) the entity's current financial position and financial background;
(c) anything else prescribed under the regulations.



21. Updating of application

(1) If a change occurs in the information provided in or in connection with an application for an interactive gaming licence (including in any documents lodged with the application), before the application is granted or refused, the applicant must forthwith give the Authority written particulars of the change.

Penalty: 60 penalty units.

(2) If particulars of the change are given, those particulars must then be considered to have formed part of the original application, for the purposes of the application of sub-section (1) to any further change in the information provided.

22. Investigations of suitability of persons

(1) The Authority may investigate an applicant for an interactive gaming licence to help the Authority decide whether the applicant is a suitable person to hold an interactive gaming licence.
(2) The Authority may investigate an associate of an applicant for an interactive gaming licence to help the Authority decide whether the associate is a suitable person to be associated with a licensed provider's operations.

23. Matters to be considered in determining applications

(1) The Authority must not grant an application for an interactive gaming licence unless satisfied--
(a) that the applicant, and each associate of the applicant, is a suitable person to be concerned in or associated with the management and operation of an interactive gaming business; and
(b) that the applicant has, or has access to, the technical ability and resources to conduct interactive games in accordance with a licence.
(2) In particular, the Authority must consider whether--
(a) each applicant and associate of the applicant is of good repute, having regard to character, honesty and integrity;
(b) in the case of an applicant that is not a natural person, the applicant has, or has arranged, a satisfactory ownership, trust or corporate structure;
(c) any of those persons has any business association with any person, body or association who or which, in the opinion of the Authority, is not of good repute having regard to character, honesty and integrity or has undesirable or unsatisfactory financial resources;
(d) each director, partner, trustee, executive officer and secretary and any other officer or person determined by the Authority to be associated or connected with the ownership, administration or management of the operations or business of the applicant is a suitable person to act in that capacity.

24. Determination of applications

(1) The Authority must determine an application by either granting or refusing the application and must notify the applicant in writing of its decision.
(2) A licence may be granted subject to any conditions that the Authority thinks fit.
(3) Without limiting the matters to which conditions may relate, the conditions of a licence may relate to--
(a) any matter for which provision is made by this Act but must not be inconsistent with a provision of this Act;
(b) approval of games and rules of games;
(c) approval of premises;
(d) approval of equipment;
(e) approval of associates;
(f) approval of an internal control system relating to such matters as the Authority determines, including the keeping of records, holding of funds on behalf of players, financial statements, reports, accounts and prizes.
(4) The Authority is not required to give reasons for its decision on an application but may give reasons if it thinks fit.
(5) If an application is granted, the licence is granted subject to the conditions and for the premises specified in the licence.

25. Changing conditions of licenceThe Authority may, by notice in writing given to a licensed provider, change the conditions of an interactive gaming licence, if the Authority considers it is necessary or desirable to make the change for the proper conduct of approved games by the licensed provider or otherwise in the public interest.

26. Interactive gaming licence not transferable

An interactive gaming licence cannot be transferred.

27. Surrender of interactive gaming licence

(1) A licensed provider may surrender the licence with the written consent of the Authority.
(2) The Authority may refuse consent if not satisfied about the arrangements made by the licensed provider for the termination of the licensee's interactive gaming business.

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